Report: Caymans balked at CCC airport deal
The Canadian Government firm involved with plans to redevelop LF Wade International had previously been in talks with the Cayman Government about a similar project.
This according to the Cayman Compass, which reported today that the deal in Cayman collapsed after “the UK expressed concerns about a lack of open tendering for the development”.
The proposal would have involved Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) financing and building expansions to the Cayman airport and runway in exchange for a 30 to 40-year operating concession and the right to collect “aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues.”
The Compass report reveals that concerns were expressed about a loss of direct government revenue, loss of control over a key strategic asset for the country and potential loss of jobs at the airport.
Last month Finance Minister Bob Richards announced that Government had signed an agreement with CCC “to pave the way for the redevelopment of the Bermuda airport” through “various sources of financing”.
Mr Richards said that the development would be financed through “future revenue streams from the new airport itself”.
The deal has come under intense scrutiny from the Opposition for the lack of transparency involved in the process as well as the absence of a tendering process.
The Cayman Compass report states: “Cayman officials will get the chance to see if the island missed a golden opportunity or dodged a bullet after the United Kingdom vetoed plans for a $200 million partnership with a Canadian government company to redevelop Owen Roberts International Airport.
“The Bermuda Government announced last week that it was entering into an agreement with the same firm, the Canadian Commercial Corp, to develop its airport in a public-private partnership similar to one that was on the table for Cayman in the early part of 2013.”
The report by James Whittaker added: “Cayman Islands officials have since opted for a more modest redevelopment of the terminal to be financed through existing Cayman Islands Airports Authority revenues, following an analysis of the options by PwC.
“The Canadian Commercial Corp appears to have taken a version of the deal mooted for Cayman to authorities in Bermuda.
“According to Mr Glidden, who headed the Ministry of Tourism in the Cayman Islands when the deal fell through in March 2013, the FCO's economic adviser had indicated that the Cayman Government needed to follow a competitive tendering process.”